Pennsylvania bill would charge certain towns for state police protection

April 19, 2021

Keith Goble

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One Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pursuing a change to address budget concerns for the state police.

Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, is behind a bill to rely on certain municipalities to help cover expenses for the agency.

About two-thirds of the state’s 2,561 municipalities rely on Pennsylvania State Police for patrol services instead of a full-time local police force.

Revenue to pay for the service comes from the state’s motor license fund. However, the affected communities do not pay more.

Paying for police protection

Sturla says 26% of residents in the state benefit from the agency’s patrol services. The other 74% of residents who pay local taxes to fund their full-time local police services also pay state taxes and fees to support the agency.

As a result, he says most residents subsidize free police protection for municipalities that choose not to fund their own local patrols.

In a memo to state lawmakers, Sturla said that even with a statutory cap for funding received from the motor license fund, the Pennsylvania State Police will still receive $705.5 million in 2020-21. The amount will continue to decrease $32 million annually until reaching $500 million in 2027-28.

“My proposal would have the annual overall fee charged to municipalities … close the gap in funding that PSP will no longer be receiving from the motor license fund,” Sturla wrote.

The bill, HB1165, would have municipalities that receive part-time Pennsylvania State Police services be charged a rate of one-third of what municipalities that receive full-time state police patrol services are charged.

Municipalities that opt to implement their own local police force, or join with neighboring municipalities to create a regional police force, would not be required to pay a fee.

The bill is in the House Transportation Committee. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Pennsylvania.

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.